New National Medical Commission (NMC) Board

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    • The draft National Medical Commission (NMC) bill 2022 seeks to introduce a fifth autonomous body under the country’s apex medical education regulator to conduct the National Exit Test (NExT).

    About

    • Background: 
      • This comes at a time when the role of NMC is expanding, with the government working towards implementing NexT.
    • National Exit Test (NExT): 
      • It is a two-part examination that will act as a qualifying exam for granting registration to doctors as well as the basis for post-graduate admissions. 
    • Board of Examinations in Medical Sciences:
      • It will take over the functions of the National Board of Examinations that currently conducts the entrance tests for all post-graduation and super-speciality courses.
        • The National Board of Examinations also conducts the screening test for foreign medical graduates, which will also be replaced by the new NExT examination.
      • In addition to conducting the NExT tests, the new board will also accredited institutions for diploma, diplomat, postgraduate fellowship, and super-speciality fellowships. 
      • It will determine the minimum requirements for conducting these courses and grant them.
      • The UG entrance is conducted by the National Testing Agency and no changes have been suggested to that in the new bill.
    • 5th body:
      • This will be the fifth autonomous board under NMC after:
        • Under-Graduate Medical Education Board (sets norms for undergraduate courses), 
        • Post-Graduate Medical Education Board (sets norms for post-graduate courses), 
        • Medical Assessment and Rating Board (inspects and rates the medical education institutes), and 
        • Ethics and Medical Registration Board (regulates professional conduct of the doctors and registers them).

    Guidelines 

    • Three draft regulations:
      • License to Practice Medicine, 2022; 
      • Registration of Additional Qualifications, 2022; and 
      • Temporary Registration of Foreign Medical Practitioners to Practice Medicine in India.
    • Working: 
      • The guidelines provide a framework for creating a dynamic national medical register.
      • It will have a unique ID assigned to each student who qualifies NEET, with professional qualifications such as post-graduation and super-speciality training being added to the same ID.
    • Open to foreigners: 
      • The registration is open for foreign doctors who want to come to India to study in post-graduation courses, fellowships, clinical research, or voluntary clinical services. 
    • Change in Permission: 
      • Until now foreign experts were being granted “permission” by the Health Ministry. 
      • Now, the NMC will grant a temporary registration to such doctors that will end with the duration of the programme. 
        • The maximum duration of such a temporary registration will be 12 months.
    • Registration Process:
      • Indian: Indian medical graduates would be eligible for registration in the National Medical Register after:
        • Completion of MBBS degree from a recognised college, 
        • Completion of year-long mandatory internship, and 
        • Pass the National Exit Test (NExT). 
      • Foreign: Foreign medical graduates can be registered after:
        • Completed education in a country other than India, 
        • Are registerable as doctors in the said country, 
        • Have completed a year-long internship in India, and 
        • Have passed the NExT exam.
    • A new portal for all documents:
      • At present, every state maintains its own medical register, which is then sent to NMC for a consolidated country-wide register.
      • After a unique ID is created, a portal will be thrown open to all recognised institutes in India who can upload all verified documents of their students to it. 
    • Jurisdiction:
      • Any cases against the commission by medical colleges or institutions will lie under the jurisdiction of the Delhi high court. 
    • Appeals: 
      • There is a provision for patients and their relatives to appeal with the Ethics and Medical Registration board or the National Medical Commission against decisions of the state medical council in cases of medical negligence.

    Significance 

    • It will streamline and fast track admissions.
    • It will help in eliminating confusion which arose recently, leading to wastage of seats due to poor work ethics, lack of coordination, and disparate bodies doing disparate components of the same job. 
    • An apex body controlling every facet of medical education will help in having no discrepancies of decision making between NMC, NBE, and MCC.

    Challenges faced by medical education in India

    • Lack of skills: 
      • There is a lack of technical skills. 
      • Finding faculties in clinical and non-clinical disciplines is difficult and there are very few faculty development programs for upskilling the existing lot.
    • Lack of infrastructure
      • The gap in digital learning infrastructure is currently the biggest challenge the sector is facing. 
    • Lack of research and innovation: 
      • The education system needs to focus more on increasing the quality of research. 
      • Additionally since industry academia partnership is not available, hence innovation also takes a back-seat.

    Way Ahead for Medical Education Reform

    • There is an urgent need to adopt technology and have resources available to facilitate e-learning.
    • Capitalising on e-learning and facilitating infrastructure to support it
    • Revising curriculum to have more practical training, competency based skill development
    • Inculcating problem solving approach by situational/case-based examination
    • A broad-based faculty development program to sharpen competency of teachers
    • Eliminating caste-based reservation and paving way for merit-based admission
    • Industry academia collaboration to facilitate innovation

    Source: IE